The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a book about discovery. Discovery of your past, history, origin and true self. January is a strong heroine. She lives with her ward in a mansion and is treated like a daughter. He dotes on her, and buys her expensive clothes, she is allowed to do as she please and spends her time wandering the huge mansion discovering and admiring it’s many rooms full of ancient and mysterious treasures that Mr. Locke has collected over the years.
January’s dad travels the world collecting rare objects for Mr. Locke She misses him when he is away and wishes she could go with him on adventures around the world. When he is home he tells her stories of the places he has been, but is always quick to leave, and is often gone for several months.
When January finds a book in an old chest, she begins to read. It tells the story of Ada, a young women who while exploring her family property, a door opens and a boy steps out. From that day on her life changes, she has a purpose that compels her forward. The same way the the open door starts Ada’s life, January’s discovery of the book starts hers.
The Truth behind Legends and folktales
In their journeys to find Doors, the characters in the book often rely on legends and folktales to lead the way. There are many books that try to discover the truth behind legends and myths. Science of the Magical, covers beliefs throughout history that can be explained through science.
The following website has some good examples of myths that turned out to have some basis in truth.
There was no room, it turned out, for little girls who wandered off the edge of the map and told the truth about the mad, impossible things they found thereThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
How we Treat Difference
From the beginning of the book January is described as an in-between. She is neither white nor obviously of a particular race, which causes the people in this time period to be suspicious of her. Since she is well dressed and travels with a white man with money, they don’t know if they should treat her with respect as the ward of a powerful man, or treat her like a servant. This situation often leaves January wandering off alone, where she receives stares from the local people.
January’s father is also treated poorly, because he is dark skinned and has tattoos covering his arms. He is judged for his appearance, based on what people assume these characteristics mean. The treatment of those who are different then the powerful, is a weakness of humans that this book addresses in more then one way. Without revealing too much of the story, January learns that she has been oppressed her whole life in an unexpected way. She spent her life attempting to fit into a world that did not accept her and never would, no matter how much she tried to to be one of them. The elite in the book believe that the unknown and undiscovered corrupt society, but in reality difference is what makes progress. Change moves us forward, the status quo eventually becomes stagnate.
You see, doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change.The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Searching for Lost Love
This book revolves around a romance, and the search for a lost love. January feels the pain that loosing her mother has caused, each time she sees her father. The loss her father feels pulls him away. Each time January has to see him step out the door, she feels her connection with him growing weaker. When January herself experiences a loss, it creates a compulsion within her to seek out the truth, and discover more about what has been happening around her. For several characters in this book, loss is what propels them forward. It gives them a purpose, and a mission that keeps them moving.
Those who Wander, Find
The people who often discover Doors are wanderers. There are many reasons why someone becomes a wanderer. They often don’t have homes, and instead spend their time traveling from one place to another. Some left their homes because they were unhappy, some had their homes taken from them, and some were forced to leave. This endless searching and seeking is ideal for the discovery of a Door. Doors are hidden in the corners of the world where most people don’t go.
I told her I intended to find every door to every world that ever existed. She laughed and said: “There are ten thousand of them, fool.”The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
If you Liked this Book…
These books reminded me of The Ten Thousand Doors of January because of their similar themes of portals and doors. Other common elements are secret societies and a love for books.